Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

The hunger of Pussy Riot

The hunger strike of Pussy Riot convicted member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was organized from the outside. This is stated in a report prepared by members of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights. According to one of the report authors, Elena Masyuk, the organizers of the hunger strike treated Tolokonnikova in a "low and despicable" manner.

The report prepared by members of the HRC Maria Kannabikh, Elena Masyuk and Evgeny Myslovsky stated that Tolokonnikova's hunger strike was "pre-planned, organized and coordinated from the outside, as well as received informational support on the Internet and in the media."

"This was organized by a group of people including Tolokonnikova's husband P. Verzilov, Tolokonnikova's lawyer I. Khrunova, and chairman of the Interregional Association of the Human Rights Organization "Agora" P. Chikov (also a member of the HRC). The visit of the HRC working group apparently was also planned in advance," the report said.

Elena Masyuk, commenting on this part of the report on a request of Pravda.Ru noted that, when drafting it, the board members used documents provided by Correctional Facility-14 Operations Department that show that this hunger strike was coordinated from the outside. "These are official documents," she said.

Another source of information, according to Elena Masyuk, is Twitter posts published by Pyotr Verzilov and Pavel Chikov about the hunger strike and how it was spread in the media. "There were also a number of sources of information that are too early to discuss," she added.

"All these factors combined gave us a reason to believe that this was a campaign organized from the outside. Actually, on the part of the initiators of the hunger strike it is low and despicable, because these people are free, and Nadezhda is in prison and hungry," said Elena Masyuk.

"Ten days after the beginning of hunger strikes in the prison system ​​forced feeding is implemented. It has been nine days. I would very much like for the situation to be resolved in some way in this last day," said a member of the HRC.

Incidentally, according to some sources, Tolokonnikova stopped the hunger strike.

This story is very similar to the one that took place a year ago. Then, thanks to the lawyers of Pussy Riot, according to popular belief, two members of the band were sentenced to real prison terms.

But back to the report. It notes that Correctional Facility-14 of the Republic of Mordovia has a well-established voluntary-compulsory system for uninterrupted 12 - 16-hours-long work day, as well as work on Sundays, and low level of wages for a 16- hour work day.

ITAR -TASS reported that measures to stop violations of the labor laws in prisons were proposed. Similar recommendations are found in the report of a member of the HRC Ilya Shablinski also compiled on the basis of his visits to Correctional Facility -14.

The document prepared by Kannabikh, Masyuk and Myslovsky noted that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova refused to provide the names of the prisoners who fell victims of violence in the colony, and these cases cannot be investigated.

But there is a conclusion that Correctional Facility-14 has an operating discipline and order unit formed from a number of convicted persons to assist the administration of the facility with enforcing order among persons serving a sentence. These units were abolished by an order of the Ministry of Justice in 2010. Such unit in Correctional Facility -14 is the third squad where disgruntled female convicts are transferred for "adjustment."

The report also notes that prisoners' living conditions have improved since the visit to the colony of members of the HRC in December of 2012. In particular, during the period since December of last year, almost all residential and plumbing services have been repaired; privacy partitions, doors, new sinks, toilets, bidets, showers and hot water heating elements have been installed.

In addition, the report recommends transferring Tolokonnikova to another unit and an easier job, as well as conducting a medical examination of the convicted.

On September 23rd an online portal published a letter from the convicted member of Pussy Riot in which she described the intolerable conditions created by the administration of IR -14. She mentioned 16-17 hours-long work days, meager wages, poor nutrition, etc. At the same time Tolokonnikova announced a hunger strike. After that, the Commission of the Human Rights Council visited the colony.

Anton Kulikov


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